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  • Writer's pictureEphemeral


Updated: Oct 24, 2021

It is a difficult, often debilitating, realisation that one may not be able to do each and everything that they wanted to do in life. Unavoidable trade offs exist between things we want to allocate our time to, and we are limited by unwanted and unchangeable elements of nature, of civilization, and of our own minds. How many of us would want to sleep if it weren't a biological necessity?

Another sad realisation is that it's not as easy to become (conventionally) remarkable as you thought it would be. Even if you do manage to select a few things that you want to excel at, and then do manage to excel at them, you may never be the subject of the admiration of the society, even though you may see people seemingly not as skilled as you doing fairly well in terms of money and popularity.

Nevertheless, it seems as if the pursuit of creation and the resultant validation does engender an innate pleasure that can not come from simply being a consumer, even though the prospect of consumption is exciting. It feels good to be draped in beautiful clothes, or to savour a delicious meal, or to even simply imagine yourself doing these things when you actually aren't. I would go as far as to say that consumption is addictive; today, it means much more than meeting our needs or attaining more comfort. It goes beyond enjoying what you are consuming, trailing into making others realise that you are indeed enjoying. Stimuli around us are perpetually suggestive of consumption we are foregoing by not indulging in spending our money on consumption.

The urge to create and related gratification may have something to do with our paradoxically subtle and obvious mortality. The thing with continuously consuming things is, be it food or content, is that the utility from it is transient; we dump our food, and our memories usually fade enough for us to wonder whether they are true at all, making their trustworthiness questionable. They can be altered and forgotten, and the worst part is that there is no way of truly verifying them, for others' memories may be as corrupt as one's.

Creations, on the other hand are relatively more tangible, and more 'permanant' in the sense that, although all of us would be wiped off the face of the earth some day, our creations prolong our existence beyond our physical life. Writing helps keep experiences ziplocked as they are, and photographs capture them. No matter how fast and strong the flow of time is, an entity of creation remains uneroded by it for very long.

I believe that if we separate external validation from the act of creation, it can serve as a deeply therapeutic activity in itself. However, the validation is a strongly attached string, and in fact something that qualifies the power of creation; it may not be as effective to create if there is nobody to consume it. It is, after all, the memories, the support and renditions of others that prolong the existence of one's creations. In a modern economy, the same is required for sustenance of creation.

Perhaps there exists a strange balance, a balance one needs to tailor for oneself, between creation and consumption. This balance, in my opinion, is one of the secrets to self-actualisation that we do not even think of harnessing, but probably should.

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